NASA wants to get people back on the Moon as early as 2026 as part of the Artemis campaign. Later in the program, the astronauts who will walk on the surface of Earth’s only natural satellite will also get a new ride to help them navigate the dusty dunes of the Moon.

That vehicle might be powered by the same General Motors Ultium tech that’s now used in cars like the Chevrolet Blazer EV, GMC Hummer EV, and Cadillac Lyriq.

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General Motors' Ultium tech might make it to the Moon

NASA has selected three teams to develop a purpose-built lunar terrain vehicle, or LTV, which will ferry astronauts on the surface of the Moon as part of the Artemis program. One of those teams, Lunar Outpost, uses GM's Ultium EV tech to power its Moon car.

NASA has selected three teams to continue developing a lunar terrain vehicle (LTV) that will likely be sent to the Moon along with a team of astronauts with the Artemis V mission. One of those teams is called Lunar Outpost and includes GM, Lockheed Martin, Goodyear, and MDA Space. The other teams competing for the next LTV are led by Intuitive Machines and Venturi Astrolab respectively, and include names like AVL, Boeing, Michelin, Northrop Grumman, Axiom Space and Odyssey Space Research.

The lunar campaign kicked off with the Artemis I mission that was deployed in November 2022. Artemis II, which will be the campaign’s first crewed flight, is scheduled to launch no earlier than September 2025, while Artemis III, which wants to send people to explore the lunar South Pole, is supposed to launch no earlier than September 2026. In other words, Artemis V, which will carry the LTV to the Moon, is still at least three years away.

According to NASA, the three companies will start a yearlong study to develop a vehicle that meets its requirements, including the ability of the LTV to be remotely controlled for times when astronauts can’t or don’t need to explore the surface of the Moon. 

Lunar Outpost LTV concept

Lunar Outpost LTV concept

After the study, NASA will request demonstrations, likely from just one team, to continue developing the LTV, send it to the Moon and make sure it’s up to the task. If Lunar Outpost’s LTV is chosen, Ultium tech similar to that used in the earthbound Chevy Blazer EV will power the world’s next lunar car.

"With a rich legacy supporting our nation's space program, General Motors is thrilled to support American astronauts once again as they embark on this important mission to the moon," a GM spokesperson said, quoted by Automotive News.

 

“We will use the LTV to travel to locations we might not otherwise be able to reach on foot, increasing our ability to explore and make new scientific discoveries,” said Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist in the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “With the Artemis crewed missions, and during remote operations when there is not a crew on the surface, we are enabling science and discovery on the Moon year-round.”

The vehicle designed by GM, Lockheed Martin, Goodyear and MDA Space has a reconfigurable cargo bed and a robotic arm and can seat two people. It can also be used for a two-week span of lunar nights at temperatures as low as -280 degrees Fahrenheit, according to its makers.

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